Welcome to our spring update.
We hope you are all keeping safe and well!
We have been actively involved in many initiatives over the last few months. We ran the first of our European Life After Stroke Series event for 2022 and participated in Brain Awareness Week in March, and International Clinical Trials Day in May, to promote our EU research partners' work.
In April, we continued our work on developing our new 2023-2027 strategy. We submitted our response to the European Commission non-communicable disease plan ‘Healthier Together’ in partnership with the European Stroke Organisation (ESO). Thank you to those of you who contributed to this submission.
In May we attended the European Stroke Organisation (ESO) conference, the first conference we have been able to attend in person since the start of the pandemic. Here we were able to meet so many colleagues and celebrate the successes to date of our work with ESO on the Stroke Action Plan for Europe. We also promoted stroke prevention on European Stroke Awareness Day.
And we look forward to seeing some of you in Barcelona later this month at our first face-to-face members' meeting since November 2019. If you will not be joining us, we will send you more information about the day afterward.
You can read more about these initiatives below.
The SAFE team
Arlene, Caroline, Sandra, Lora, Megha
Developing our new strategy
Some of the SAFE team [pic from l to r: Director-General, Arlene Wilkie, Communications Manager, Caroline Moye, Board members Marina Charalambous (Secretary), Rubina Ahmed, Pnina Rosenzweig, Harriet Proios (President), Chris Macey (Treasurer) and Sandra Jackson] were able to meet face-to-face at the Fundacio Ictus office in Barcelona to develop our new five-year strategy – 2023 to 2027. They were joined by Lora Ivanova and Markus Wagner virtually.
The proposed strategy will be shared and discussed at the next members’ meeting on 17 June and the final approved strategy will be launched in 2023.
Harriet was invited to be interviewed for the Touch NEUROLOGY website. She talks about our future objectives, challenges, opportunities, and upcoming events.
You can watch the interview here
European Stroke Awareness Day 10 May 2022
Thank you to all of you who helped raise awareness of stroke prevention on European Stroke Awareness Day and on World Hypertension Day last month.
We used the days to highlight that high blood pressure is one of 10 modifiable risk factors of stroke. Did you know that 1 in 5 Europeans have high blood pressure with the biggest numbers recorded in Croatia (37% of people aged 15 years and over), Latvia and Hungary (both 32%).
We have updated our website strokeprevention.info/ which is available in six languages English, French, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish.
Please continue to raise awareness as many strokes can be prevented.
European Life After Stroke Series 2022
For those of you that missed our event on 11 March, both plenary sessions on self-management after stroke and communications after stroke, is now available to watch on-demand at www.elasf.org.
"Thank you for the excellent presentations including stroke survivors stories/experiences. I will definitely be aiming to embed some of these thoughts into my practice to empower my patients to be equipped for self-management in order to give them quality of life as stroke survivors."
Event participant, Plenary 1, Life After Stroke
Be inspired and share control - the added value of self-management
"Thank you so much for such an interesting presentation. It was particularly interesting to hear from 'expert witnesses' and real-life experience of challenges and coping strategies."
Event participant, Plenary 2, Life after stroke:
Communication in everyday life
More than 700 people registered for both plenaries and the event received a satisfaction rating of 95%.
We can also confirm that our next virtual event will take place on Wednesday 9 November so please keep the day free in your calendar. The topics to be covered will be: getting back to work after stroke; fatigue after stroke, and physical activity – getting active without sweat and lycra. The full programme will be announced later in the summer.
The life after stroke series of events is an opportunity to build the life after stroke healthcare, research and patient community, stimulate debate and ultimately improve life after stroke care and build interest for our first face-to-face European Life After Stroke Forum, Friday 10 March 2023, in Barcelona – please save the date!
European Stroke Organisation Conference, 4 - 6 May 2022
We had a successful face-to-face presence at the European Stroke Organisation Conference 2022 – the first since the start of the pandemic.
Some of the highlights included:
- A Stroke Action Plan for Europe (SAP-E) workshop where Arlene Wilkie, presented alongside Hanne Christensen (Denmark) and Bo Norving (Sweden). Romania shared their experiences of improving stroke care and Ukraine, Portugal, Italy and Armenia shared their successes to date.
- SAFE President, Harriet Proios, as well as presenting SAP-E awards to Bulgaria, Estonia, Italy, Germany, Greece and Serbia for their work in promoting SAP-E, spoke of the importance of SAP-E in improving stroke care for stroke survivors.
- At our SAFE stand, we promoted our projects, including the Angels Stroke Survivors packs and the European Life After Stroke Forum. We also presented at our EU research project partner Tension meeting on the latest EU research dissemination activities that took place during Brain Awareness Week this March.
- Harriet gave a moving presentation on the FAST Heroes initiative, "Saving the World One Grandparent at a Time", demonstrating the impact successful educational and prevention campaigns can have.
- Rubina Ahmed, SAFE Board member from the Stroke Association, UK, took part in a panel interview on the patient perspective and how to involve stroke survivors in research.
- Harriet interviewed a PhD student on their research on the schools-based FAST HEROES educational programme in Greece – you can watch it here.
We also made some interesting connections with potential future partners.
The Stroke Action Plan for Europe - celebrating successes
On European Stroke Awareness Day, we took the opportunity to share the progress made toward reaching the four overarching targets of the Stroke Action Plan for Europe (SAP-E). Led by us alongside the European Stroke Organisation, the SAP-E initiative aims to encourage European countries to show their commitment to improving stroke prevention, treatment, care and support, through a network of National Coordinators. Over the past year, we have made great strides in reaching the goals set out in the Action Plan.
These achievements include:
EU Non-Communicable Disease Plan: Healthier Together
This is a long-awaited response by the European Commission to the ongoing efforts of the health community to prioritise non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the EU agenda. The future common framework on NCDs across EU Member States gives us a strong opportunity to raise the profile of stroke within our countries.
SAFE and ESO welcome this new initiative and worked together on submitting a joint response to the European Commission consultation on the initiative. We based our submission heavily on the SAP-E and the Essentials of Stroke care guideline. We were also able to work with several of our member organisations to submit supporting best practice ideas from their countries.
The Healthier Together plan is scheduled to be published in June, and we will let you know more about this at that time.
Cardiovascular DIsease Plan launched
As a member of the European Alliance for Cardiovascular Health (EACH), we were pleased to be involved in the development of the Cardiovascular Disease Plan for Europe which was launched in May. EACH brings together patients, healthcare professionals, insurers, researchers and industry to tackle Europe’s leading cause of death.
The proposed Plan aims to reduce premature and preventable deaths in Europe by one-third in 2030, improve access for all to high-quality cardiovascular risk assessments, set multi-disciplinary care pathways and pave the way for greater quality of life.
It also aims to build on the EU Non-Communicable Diseases Initiative, Healthier Together (see above),
This Plan complements and strengthens the work that we are doing on the Stroke Action Plan for Europe 2018-2030 and ensures that stroke remains high on the European policy agenda.
For more information about the plan see here.